How many of you have gone through the frustrating turmoil of having your car breakdown, and that feeling of helplessness and dread sets in because you have absolutely no knowledge of where to turn to find information about local automotive repair shops. Without a relationship with a mechanic or repair shop you can trust, each visit to have your vehicle fixed can be an uncertain experience. Will the shop treat me fairly? Will they only fix whats broken? How can I find information on shops so I can make an informed decision about where to take my car?
This is why some basic knowledge of auto repair, maintenance and especially the car repair shops you use are vital. Listed below are some of the basics of car care and maintenance that will help increase your auto repair IQ, and help you make better decisions regarding your car.
Synthetic Oil isnt always better.If your vehicle has been running fine with conventional oil for years,and your owners manual doesnt recommend it,stick with regular oil for your oil changes.Some shops want to switch you to synthetic strictly for more profit.
Change your timing belt on its recommended interval.It doesnt give you any warning before it breaks,and depending on the engine,can cause massive internal damage as pistons crash into valves after it breaks.
By replacing your serpentine belt or drive belts when your replace your timing belt, you can save all the labor charges, as the belts must be removed to complete the timing belt replacement anyway!
Cleaning windshield wipers with alcohol and a soft rag can extend the life and improve the performance of your wipers.
Learn how to check all your vehicles fluid levels including engine oil, transmission fluid, brake fluid, power steering fluid, engine coolant, and washer solvent. Dropping fluid levels is an early warning sign of potential problems.
Check your remaining brake pad life regularly. Replace the pads before they wear out and grind into the brake rotors and triple the price of your brake job.
Keep your battery posts clean.
Each vehicle has a different interval for the replacement of the cars spark plugs.Check your owners manual for your cars interval.Dishonest mechanics may recommend replacing spark plugs every 30,000 miles, when the life expectancy of those spark plugs may be 100,000 miles to increase profits.
Check your tire pressure regularly.Correctly inflated tires save fuel and increase tire longevity.Decreasing air pressure is an indication of a leak that should be repaired.
Inspect your air filters.Dirty air filters decrease fuel economy and performance, and can sometimes be blown-out with a high-pressure air hose instead of replaced.
Check your engine oil regularly. Older vehicles may begin to burn oil, and a vehicle can run dangerously low on engine oil without ever showing signs of a leak.For most of us however, the days of being able to work on our own vehicles is far behind us. Almost all vehicles built in the last 10 years are controlled by an array of electronic sensors and computers. The good news is that the vehicle is always making adjustments to maximize fuel economy, reduce pollution, and deliver maximum performance all by itself. The bad news is that it now requires constant specialized training, and expensive testing equipment to properly diagnose and repair vehicles.